ISF SETS NEW RECORD
“As of January 1, 2011, ISF had 217 members in 75 countries. In recent years, many small- and medium-sized companies have joined ISF, especially in those countries where there are no national seed associations. This is the first time ISF has surpassed 200 members. Many of these members are national seed associations with tens or hundreds of seed companies as their members, so ISF represents many thousands of seed companies around the world. This year we have received over 25 new members’ applications, some from countries such as the Philippines, Paraguay and Ukraine.”—Marcel Bruins, secretary general, International Seed Federation
CROP ISOLATION MAPPING
The California Crop Improvement Association has come up with a solution to help seed companies mitigate the risk of pollen flow from genetically modified crops, such as alfalfa. CCIA offers online isolation maps as a useful tool to the seed industry. “There are maps available for sunflower, vegetables and alfalfa isolation. The maps are used to mark field locations so seed companies can communicate with each other regarding isolation issues between their fields,” says Mary (Kitty) Schlosser, administrative manager of CCIA. “Crops are identified by different shapes. The Alfalfa Isolation Management Map is used in conjunction with the Alfalfa Seed Stewardship Program to mark fields sensitive to possible pollen flow from genetically enhanced alfalfa. A demonstration map is available to allow users to see how the maps work.” For more information, visit the CCIA website at http://ccia.ucdavis.edu. Click on the link “Crop Isolation Mapping” in the green menu on the left side of the page. Tutorials are available to help viewers understand the capabilities of the maps.
A SHIFT IN WHEAT
More wheat growers are supporting the idea of genetically modified wheat. In 2008, the National Association of Wheat Growers conducted a member survey to see if they support biotechnology, and 80 percent said yes. “We realized we’re behind, and we need access to the technology,” said Jane DeMarchi, the association’s director of government affairs for research and technology, in a recent St. Louis Today article. “Wheat growers are concerned about the lack of innovation. Most of these farmers grow other crops and they’re seeing increased yields. They’re seeing other crops are more economical for them to grow.”
ESA CALLS FOR INNOVATION
“Together with farmers and public research institutes, the European Seed Association and a number of individual plant breeding companies are trying to address the consequences that lack of innovation will have on the entire EU agri-food chain and for European consumers,” says Garlich von Essen, secretary general of ESA, referring to the European Union’s policy approach regulating GM technology. “This will also affect the EU’s contribution to the resolutions of some of the greatest challenges of our times: the preservation and sustainable use of natural resources to produce more food at affordable prices for the growing world population. ‘More and better’ are the key words in this challenge, and genetic progress is the key to meeting it. Only if we succeed will we be able to free the impressive innovative capacity of Europe’s plant scientists, plant breeders, farmers and food producers. And only if we accomplish this will Europe stand a chance of meeting its self-proclaimed policy objective and truly become the knowledge-based bio-economy of the 21st century.”
BREAKING GROUND
“Our continued growth and expansion is driven by the increasing demands of our customers, who want more high-performing products suited for their acres,” says Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids. Due to its annual 20 percent growth for the past 20 years, the company is expanding operations by adding a research building at its Atlanta, Ind., headquarters. The new research facility will allow for future growth in testing the latest innovative seed technologies and germplasm from suppliers worldwide. “The new research building will provide the capacity to bring an increasing number of new, innovative seed products to our customers.”
SEED TREATMENTS AS A TOOL FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
“By utilizing modern agriculture technologies, farmers will be able to boost yields, conserve water usage and protect biodiversity,” says Keith Jones, director of stewardship and sustainable agriculture for CropLife International based in Brussels, Belgium. “Seed treatments represent one tool on which many sustainable agriculture technologies rely upon. By protecting seeds from planting to emergence, seed treatments can improve stand establishment and increase potential yield.”